Unappetizing Truth: The Link Between Fried Food, Genes, and Weight Gain

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We all know people who can eat as much junk food as they want and not gain a pound, but now we can understand them just a little more. Doctors at Harvard Medical School recently came out with research that shows people with a higher genetic risk for obesity gain more weight when they eat fried foods than people with a lower risk. The research was published in the British Medical Journal on Tuesday, and now, people can understand the link between fried foods, genes, and weight gain a little more clearly.

According to NPR, which reported the team’s findings on Thursday, in order to determine the interaction between genes and fried food, epidemiologist Lu Qi and his team analyzed the dietary habits of nearly 30,000 adults in the U.S. Along with their analysis, they calculated each person’s genetic risk for obesity by analyzing 32 genes known to be linked to the disease. Though these genes don’t dispose someone to automatic obesity, they increase a person’s risk of having a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) at some point in their lives.

From their research, Qi and his colleagues found that people who ate more fried foods gained more weight than those who drove through the drive-thru less frequently. That was to be expected. However, they also found that those who carried more of the obesity genes had higher BMIs, and the volunteers who had both risks factors — a love for fried food and a high number of the genes in question — had the largest BMIs of all groups and also the biggest risk for obesity.

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